Do you have a favorite command in Campaign Cartographer that you use often? One that you wished hat a convenient keyboard shortcut to launch easily?

CC3+ may not have an easy-to use shortcut editor built in, but it still allow you to define shortcut keys for any command you want. All that is required is that the command is defined in the CC3+ menu, but even if it isn’t already defined there, it is easy enough to add it yourself. So if you’re like me and use the List command a lot, why not make it easy to access by adding Ctrl+L as a shortcut key for it?

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CC3+ maps are more than just pretty illustrations of the area your players happen to adventure in. If you like to keep track of time passing in your game (or your novella) you need to know how long it will take your players to travel from Snowport to Knight’s landing. And to do that, you’ll naturally need to know the distance, and the terrain traveled through. The latter is easy enough to read visually from the map, and sure, you can provide an estimate for the former using the scale bar. However, this gets more and more inaccurate the more winding the road is though, maybe they are even traveling along an extremly winding river.

Instead of trying to estimate complex distances like that, CC3+ has built-in tools that lets you easily measure distances, both in straight lines, but also along a meandering path. Using these tools you can get the exact answer in seconds when the players ask about the distance/travel time, and get the same answer every time.

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In my previous two installments of this series, I’ve looked at the basics of macros and how to use variables. Today, I’ll be rounding off this introductory series by having a look at program flow. The macros we have looked at so far have just been a row of instructions, which are executed one by one, but it is also possible to make branching logic and loops. For example, you can do different things based on what the user chooses, or you can run the same block of code multiple times. For example, if you’ve had a look at my Large Exports annual, it contains the code required for exporting a small section of the map, and then it just loops over the same code enough times to export the entire map as smaller chunks.

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One of the things that are easily overlooked when mapping local scale overland maps for gaming is the sheer numbers of settlements that traditionally dot the countryside. In medieval times, the distances between them could be surprisingly short compared to our modern standards, simply because we are used to larger settlements (and faster transportation) these days.

Now, dotting a landscape with settlements is pretty easy with CC3+, as we have great tools for doing this. To ensure randomness, we can have symbols randomly picked for each placement, we can use Symbols Along to place them along a road, and we can use Symbols in Area to fill a large plain with settlements. Great, job done.

Well, if you try to do this with a standard overland map, you’ll quickly notice that this doesn’t seem to work as desired for this purpose. You’ll notice that the groups in the settlement symbol catalog are set up with groups containing just a single symbol, including varicolor versions of that symbol. Now, that is not going to help us spread settlement symbols of various sizes easily as we wanted.

What we are seeing here is really the fact that you can’t organize everything for every imaginable purpose. It is similar to sorting your contact list on your phone. Should it be sorted by last names or first names? Last names are probably more formally correct, and it ensures that all the people from the same family appear next to each other, but you’re probably more used to refer to people by their first name, making them easier find for you when sorted that way. Neither way is wrong, but you can only have one of them at a time. Symbol catalogs are similar. When making them, the creator need to figure one sensible way to offer them, and then leave it to the users to rearrange things when needed. And that is what I will be showing today. I am using Mike Schley Overland for the example here, but this can of course be done with any map type and any style.

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In CC3+, we use polygons a lot. They are used when you draw a landmass, they are used when you draw the floor of your building, they are used for your terrain fills and so on. Basically, when you work with a CC3+ map, there are 3 main types of entities you deal with, your symbols (places, objects, markers and more), your polygons (for filled areas like landmass and floors) and your lines (for walls, roads and similar).

Now, for this article I am going to have a little look at how we can do things like split our polygon up into two pieces, for example if we only need part of it for another map. And, I am also going to look at how to properly join up two polygons into one, as due to various factors, just drawing two partially overlapping polys and leaving them at that doesn’t always work.

In truth, lines and polys are mostly the same thing, the main difference is that polygons are closed (i.e. the programs draws a closing segment between the end node and back to the start node) while lines do not have this closing segment. When we are splitting and joining out polygons, we’ll actually be temporarily turning them into lines, so it is worth noting already now that having the fill apparently disappear while doing this is completely normal, and it will return when we are done. This also means that the procedures described here are the same for both lines and polygons, except you don’t close up lines at the end.

If you’re after extracting part of your map to make a detailed local map from a regional map, you may also wish to check out my Large to Small – Going from Regional Maps to Local Maps article.

Now, I use landmasses for my example here, but this works exactly the same way with floors in dungeon maps and all polys in all other map types as well.

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I’ve always loved some interactivity in my maps, especially the dungeon ones. It is fun adding secret doors that can be opened, rotating sections, and other surprises. If you watched my latest live stream, you saw me build a hedge maze with a rotating central section, where the inner region was only reachable if you rotated the it first using a clickable hotspot in the map. (You’ll find both a link to the recording as well as my map in this forum conversation.)

I thought I could show you a couple of more examples of nice easy macros you can assign to your hotspots to accomplish interesting results, and hopefully come away with an expanded understanding of macros at the same time.

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When you make your own symbol catalogs, either from new symbols, or just to create a re-mix of existing symbols, one of the main issues is how to make them easily accessible. Sure, you can always click the open symbol catalog button and browse for it, but that means you need to remember where it is, and it is more complicated than just clicking one of the symbol catalog buttons in the top toolbar.

But, if all the official catalogs can be loaded from those buttons, why not our own? It’s actually quite simple, so let us have a look.

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In most overland styles, such as the CC3 Mike Schley Overland you’ll find that when you draw a terrain, such as the hills, the edge of your polygon will fade into the land behind it, allowing for a smooth transition between the two. This is of course done by the Edge Fade, Inner effect, and will only be visible as long as effects are enabled.

So, well and fine, but now we want the central part of our hilly area to be mountainous, so we just use the drawing tool and draw us some mountain terrain on top of the hill terrain. But then we notice something, the mountain fill is not fading into the terrain fill beneath it. Now, why would that be? It is on the same sheet as the hill fill (the LAND FEATURES sheet in case of CC3 Mike Schley Overland), and that clearly fades, so what is up here?

The answer to that is simple, effects are per-sheet, not per-entity, so what the Edge Fade, Inner effect is fading the combined outline of all the entities on the sheet, not the outline of each individual entity. In my example case here, the mountain terrain is fully inside the hills terrain, so the outline is here described by the hills terrain alone. If the mountain terrain had been sticking out somewhere, we would have seen that that part of the mountain terrain would have had edge fading applied to it, as would be the case if we delete the hills altogether and just keep our mountains.

So, let us look at how to handle this. Continue reading »

Forest GraveyardWhen working with Campaign Cartographer 3+ you can make good looking maps quite easily. Templates come with the appropriate effects predefined, symbols and tools draw on the appropriate sheet automatically and most styles have a nice selection of symbols and fills to use in your map. With just a little bit of experience with CC3+ and it’s tools, you can quickly and easily throw together that battle map for tonight’s encounter. Sometimes however, it can be worth spending a little more time with the map, looking at the details and taking it from a good map to a great map.

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I often use boxes to put information like a map key or the map title in as I like to separate these things from the map itself. Creating such a box is easy enough, I usually just use the Box command to draw an appropriate box with a nice fill on a dedicated sheet, slap a quick effect on it like edge fade and/or transparency and I am done. If you did the first map tutorial in the CC3+ user manual, this was one of the final steps when we completed the map in the text chapter.

But, what if I want to make it a little neater, like for example adding rounded corners to it? CC3+ doesn’t have a ready to go rounded corner tool out of the box, but we can easily assemble one ourselves with a few simple steps. And of course, once you have made the shape, you can throw whatever fills and effects on it that you want.

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